It is only last year that the drink-driving laws in Ireland were given a complete overhaul when the Gardai were given the power to impose on-the-spot fines of 200 Euros and 3 penalty points to drivers caught slightly over the limit of 50mg of alcohol in the blood. Drivers could only have this penalty once in three years. If caught drink-driving for a second time in that period, they would have to attend court.
Now the Government is considering a whole new range of proposals, not only for drink-drivers but for those repeatedly caught driving dangerously or speeding. It is hoped that the new options for Judges sentencing culprits will be in place by next year.
One proposal is that if drink-drivers do a training course, paid for by them, then they could get their driving ban reduced by up to a quarter. Based on the system in use in the UK, they will still be fined and receive penalty points but their ban will be reduced if they finish the course. The course will cost drivers about 300 Euros and will be run by RSA approved agencies.
It will be up to the Judge to decide if an offender should go on the course. At present there are over 21 thousand up in court on drink-driving charges every year. Anyone found to have more than 80mg of alcohol in their blood will be banned for at least 6 months and fined up to 5000 Euros.
Other proposals include drivers being made to take lessons and sit their driving test again, “speed awareness courses”, curfews, bans on carrying passengers and breathalysers built into the car which they must pass before the car will start. The RSA say the proposals will be put before the Government soon.